Vegetarian, vegan, Weight Watchers, Sugar Busters, Slim-Fast, cabbage soup, Mediterranean, South Beach, Atkins, raw food… name the diet, I’ve tried it. So when I was offered a free Blueprint Cleanse, the trendy juice-only diet that Food and Wine Magazine calls “the cleanse for foodies,” naturally I was game.
I really do try to eat mindfully, but the truth is, sometimes the balance tips dangerously into the Ho-Ho and waffle category. So certainly, the concept of fasting has always appealed to me as a sort of “reset” button–a chance to essentially separate myself from food and re-focus on healthy eating. In reality, though, I never could bring myself to do a week-long master cleanse or other juice fast, partly because they sounded gross and partly because I’m just too lazy busy to do all the preparation. I don’t have a juicer, nor do I have the time to read a bunch of books or make gallons of spicy lemonade every day.
But a juice cleanse whose motto is “we think, you drink?” Well, now we’re talking!
Basically, Blueprint Cleanse (BPC) claims to provide the same physical health benefits as other juice fasts but with an easy-to-use system. It’s like a juice cleanse for dummies. They send you emails before, during and after your fast, telling you what to expect and how to prepare, and the juices themselves are numbered in order from one to six. They even send you an insulated logo tote and ice packs so you can take the juice with you. It’s honestly one of the easiest diets I’ve ever done.
The juices are actually pretty tasty too, though I guess some people have trouble with the green juices–probably because they are, well green. Mostly they just taste like the yummy fresh-squeezed juices you’d get at a juice bar. There are three levels of the cleanse available, each with a varying number of green juices throughout the day and a slightly different number of calories. And all three finish the day with a delicious cashew-milk smoothie, which for the first two or three days of your cleanse you will think is the best effing thing you’ve ever tasted in your life.
I’ve done two cleanses with BPC now, each lasting about a week. The first cleanse was the hardest (mostly because I was convinced I was going to starve to death) but both times “eating” juice became routine–even easy–after two to three days. Overall, I felt pretty great on the cleanse. My energy was good and I was very mellow, which is a rarity for me considering my usual balance of toddlers, work and marriage. My husband also commented on my glowing skin and–everyone’s favorite question–I did lose a few pounds, though for me the cleanse-related weight loss was temporary. On the downside I was hungry much of the time, but oddly enough, that was okay (you’ll notice how I didn’t die). It was also surprisingly hard at first to prepare meals for the rest of my family, but it ended up being quite liberating to focus on the cooking itself rather than on getting food into my mouth ASAP.
In regards to the purported health benefits of cleansing, I definitely think there is some merit to giving your body a “rest” from heavy eating, especially considering all the junk we normally shove into our pie-holes. But even though intestinal health is essential to whole-body wellness, I don’t think a short-term change in diet is enough to dramatically impact your overall health trajectory. The truth is, many of the toxins that accumulate in our bodies over time are stored in fatty tissue and can’t easily be flushed from the body; in other words, a three-day juice cleanse ain’t gonna defuse that beer-belly time-bomb.
Personally, the greatest benefit I’ve experienced is the change in my eating habits after the cleanse was over. I’m sure I’m not alone: after days of drinking fresh, raw foods I don’t see how anyone could wake up the next morning and power down a McMuffin. You just don’t want it. After finishing a cleanse I pay way more attention to what I eat and why I’m eating it–even if it’s cold pizza at ten PM.
So, would I do it again? Probably. It’s awfully expensive (between $75-$95 a day), but it’s tasty and well worth it if you interested in cleansing but are busy or don’t know where to start. I wouldn’t expect any miracles, but you can definitely count on being a little bit lighter–both mentally and physically–by the end of your cleanse. Consider it a getaway vacation for your hardworking gut.